This page includes selected articles from the 1994 issues of Across the Fence Post.
By Ken Grant, Baraboo Stamp Club
Ken Grant has collected stamps since 1975. He teaches English at the UW-Baraboo and has had articles published in Linn’s Stamp News, the American Philatelist, and Ice Cap News, journal of the American Society of Polar Philatelists. We're looking forward to more of his inspiring contributions to our publication.
Not too long ago, I attended the Badger Stamp Club's DANEPIX '93. I had just approached a dealer at his table when he stopped, a flicker of recognition in his eye. "Oh, I remember you," he said. "You're the guy who collects weird stuff." Some people might be mildly insulted by that identification, but I felt pleased. Among my collecting interests are cinderellas, the "weird stuff" of collecting.
Linn's Stamp Almanac defines cinderellas as "Stamp-like labels that are not postage stamps. Cinderellas include a wide variety of material, from revenue stamps to bogus issues." Personally, I've never really thought of revenues as cinderellas; they are unusual, but definitely not "weird stuff." I do include stamp exhibition labels, charity seals, propaganda stamps, poster stamps, local posts, fakes, fantasy, and promotional labels as cinderellas. These are certainly not all the cinderella material around, but they make up a good deal of the "weird stuff' avail-able to the collector.
If you haven't had much experience with cinderellas, let me show you some of the material that has made its way into my collection.
One of the philatelic society associations that have meant the most to me is my membership in the American Philatelic Society. For at least half dozen years I have been collecting exhibition labels and other "cindy" material from APS shows - and what a wide range of material can be found. Figure 1 shows one of five APS convention labels issued by the Springfield Stamp Club to lure the APS to Massachusetts for its 1912 show. (They succeeded.) The 1936 APS Omaha convention set, one of which is illustrated in Figure 2, shows the high quality of some of the exhibition material. The American Bank Note Company beautifully engraved all the four labels issued in this set.
Closer to home, Figure 3 shows a label prepared for the APS's 59th convention held in Milwaukee in 1944. Perhaps some members of the Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs remember when Figure 4 was issued. The central vignette, the Wisconsin state seal, is printed in brown on yellow paper with green text. This cinderella was probably intended to be affixed to an envelope and cancelled at the show. None of these show labels are budget breakers, the most expensive, the Springfield set, cost me $11 a few years ago.
I don't doubt that most readers already have a small collection of charity seals. If you have a sheet of Christmas seals tucked away in a binder somewhere, you're well on your way to building a charity seal collection. But organizations in the United States are not alone in issuing charity labels and seals. Figure 5 shows a pair of Canadian Christmas seals from 1985, and Figure 6 shows a single from Norway issued in 1953. Across the world, charities have helped raise funds and have promoted their work by selling or distributing charity labels. Collectors can have hours of enjoyment building a collection of labels from Boys Town, Easter Seals, or the NAACP, or by starting an international charity seal collection.
Propaganda labels like the Spanish Civil War label in Figure 7 and the Fight Communism stamp in Figure 8 each make their own political statement. Some cinderella collectors focus on World War I or World War II labels, while others direct their attention to labels, which document elections or political policies, like the National Recovery Act stamp illustrated in Figure 9.
If I haven't already pointed out - enough "weird stuff ' to divert your attention from your Scott catalogues, consider local posts or fantasy issues. For well over a hundred years, stamps have been used to prepay local delivery of mail or to intrigue collectors and tourists so they will shell out money to pay for a purely philatelic issue. Figures 10 and 11 show Stockholm and Foochow local post stamps, while Figure 12 shows a commercial 3-puffin value Lundy Island airmail stamp issued in 1954. The Stockholm local post is of great interest to specialists as sheets can be reconstructed because each stamp position on the sheet has its distinct characteristics.
Fantasy and unrecognized state issues are widely available as well. Figure 13 shows a stamp from the Autonomous State of South Kasai, a part of the Congo that declared its statehood but was never internationally recognized. The Republic Maluku Selatan stamp illustrated in Figure 14 is one of a great range of inexpensive stamps privately issued for the South Moluccas but never accorded postal validity. Issues are available from Biafra and dozens of other places to interest the collector.
Finally, there are promotional labels, reprints, and bogus issues to fill out the range of collectibles. Figure 15 shows a lithographed Columbian Coffee stamp produced by the American Bank Note Company. Figure 16, who knows? Printed with black ink on bright green paper, the stamp claims to be an East River P[ost] O[ffice] stamp located on 18 Ave. D. I'm almost positive it's a reprint, but of what, I don't know. Cinderella collecting provides loads of mysteries like this last one quite inexpensively.
If you are interested in starting a cinderella collection, I have three suggestions. First, consider bidding on a cinderella lot at an auction. Many auction houses include cinderella material at the end of their traditional philatelic lots; I've bid on a number of lots from Vance Auctions in Canada and Herb LaTuchie in the United States. Second, locate a cinderella dealer advertising in Linn's Stamp News. I've purchased material from a number of people who advertise regularly in Linn's. Third, go to your next local stamp show, find a few patient-looking dealers, and ask if they have any "weird stuff' for sale. Who knows what you'll find. •
Bucky Rose Bowl Cover
Tom Henning, customer service manager of Madison's West Side Post Office, was on the ball! With entrepreneurial foresight, he designed a Wisconsin Badgers Rose Bowl cacheted cover and cancel. Covers are franked with the 29¢ Rose stamp.
Madison-area fans learned about the cover in late December, when the post office began taking orders. Henning reports that as of January 4, over 5,000 orders have been filled, and more are pouring in from all over the country and Mexico. Orders will be accepted through March 1, and the UW-Madison and the Rose Bowl will share 14 percent of the profit of sales.
The covers are available either with or without the inclusion of the usual Madison January 1, 1994, circular date stamp over the red Rose Bowl pictorial cancel. Henning predicted a debate over this postal product because in both cases, the covers were canceled and are sent from Madison, and not "Pasadena, CA," as shown in the hand-cancel.
Address your order to: Rose Bowl, U.S. Postal Service, West Side Station, 733 Struck St., Madison, WI 53711-6100. Indicate whether or not you want the Madison postmark included. A 29¢ SASE must accompany orders for unaddressed covers and for those without the Madison postmark. Enclose $2: checks payable to Postmaster.
Henning noted that since most SASEs coming in aren't large enough to carry the No. 10 size Bucky cover, the customer's SASE is usually destroyed and substituted with a U.S. Postal Service penalty envelope to fill orders.
Our Green Bay Packers might be in favor again this year, too. If you'd like to go all out for Wisconsin football in 1994, you can still acquire a WFSC cacheted First Day of Issue of the 1990 Football Hologram envelope issued in Green Bay. The tricolored cachet features two football players in action with lettering "Green Bay, The Original Title Town," and since it's also a No. 10 size envelope, it matches the Bucky cover. Send $2, which includes postage and mailer to: Deanna Juhnke, Treas., WFSC, 3701 Jordan Lane, Stevens Point, WI 54481.
Errors of the Circular and Oval Dies o n United States Envelopes
By Dan Undersander, Badger Stamp Club
Dan Undersander specializes in collecting varieties of modern United States issues and has regularly exhibited his material at DANEPIX. He's a member of several specialty organizations, including the United States Postal Stationery Society. By profession, Dan is Wisconsin's state agronomist.
Only three types of definitive envelope dies were used during the 48-year period from 1907 to 1965. Hundreds of millions of these envelopes were printed during that time. All of the first two types and some of the third were produced on sheet-fed presses. The large quantity of production, combined with sheet-fed rather than rotary printing resulted in production of many errors. Most of these errors, while uncommon, are affordable when located.
The envelopes of these series were embossed, which means that the platen on the printing press pushed the paper into the die so that the design is raised as well as inked. The most common error is an albino envelope where two sheets were fed through the press together so that both were embossed but only the top sheet was inked. This also results in the top envelope being "over inked" (Figure 1) due to the extra thickness from the two sheet of paper. Some albinos were postally used. I have seen both those that were accepted by the post office and those that were forwarded postage due! Some albino envelopes were overprinted when these envelopes were revalued in the 1920s.
Partially inked impressions result from two causes. The first is where the paper was folded as it went through the printing press (Figure 2a), in which case the remainder of the inking and embossing occurs somewhere else on the envelope. This frequently results in misfolded envelopes as well. The second cause of partial impressions is something lying across a portion of the area to be inked. In Figure 2b, the outline of the flap from another envelope is visible across the impression.
Another common error is a misfolded envelope. This usually occurred when knives and folding were set for the wrong size envelope. The j resulting impressions can occur any-where on the envelope. Note in Figure 3 that the corner card (return address) was printed in black before the envelope was cut and folded so it is properly located with respect to the impression but mislocated on the envelope.
It is possible to find envelopes with normal embossing and inking either on both inside and outside or just inside the envelope. In this case, the press was operated with no paper in it so that the platen was inked from the die. The next sheet that went through was inked on both sides (Figures 4a-b). Alternately, if two sheets were mistakenly fed through the press together, one is inked normally from the die and the other is inked on the reverse side from the platen. The latter results in an albino embossing on the outside of the envelope with inking on the inside.
Another interesting error is an inside-out envelope. Here the printed and embossed sheet was turned before cutting and folding so that both the embossing and inking are on the inside of the envelope. The inked impression is usually in the upper left corner of the envelope while envelopes embossed normally and inked on the inside, as described in the previous paragraph, appear in the upper right corner of the envelope.
It is also possible to find two envelopes folded together. This can occur with either an albino inside envelope, where the two sheets of paper stuck together through the entire printing, cutting, folding and gluing process, or with both envelopes embossed and inked, where sheets stuck together after inking and embossing. Since glue was applied after cutting, only the outside envelope is glued together, but only the inside envelope has glue on the flap
One really different error is the 5 ¢ blue Lincoln (U544) printed over an albino 4 ¢ Washington (U536) embossing. This error, from 1962, is known with both dies B and C of the 5 ¢ Lincoln. It is much less common than any of the previously mentioned errors, but is still affordable.
Many different color shades appear on these envelopes because of the long printing history and the difficulty of obtaining inks during the World Wars. The ranges of greens, reds, and purples can make an interesting collection.
Several color errors have occurred. One is where carmine (color of 2 ¢ envelope) was used to print the 3 ¢ envelope (U436, U437, and U439). The color error is found on white, amber and blue paper. Most of these envelopes have the return address for one of seven companies printed on the envelope. The 3 ¢ envelope was also printed in black, the color normally reserved for the 4 ¢ denomination.
The study of errors can aid in the understanding of envelope manufacture. Moreover, envelope errors are interesting to collect because they are a challenge to locate but are normally very affordable once found. They can greatly enhance the interest in and uniqueness of a postal stationery collection.
Antarctic Cover Collecting
By Ken Grant, Baraboo Stamp Club
With spring underway and a harsh, snowy winter behind us, I suspect few if any Wisconsin philatelists want to set their eyes on any more snow and ice. Still, if you collect the Antarctic that may be exactly what you'd like to do.
I have collected stamps with an Antarctic theme for over a decade now and maintain an interest in a number of the Antarctic territories, which regularly issue stamps to assert their territorial claims. The British Antarctic Territories (BAT), the Australian Antarctic Territories (AAT), the French Southern Antarctic Territories (FSAT), the Ross Dependency of New Zealand, and South Georgia - all these territories issue or have issued stamps to provide postal service on or near the coldest continent.
Many of these stamps are colorful and are eagerly sought by collectors. But my focus in this article is not so much the stamps as it is the mail that is carried in the Antarctic. This mail documents the achievements of men and women as they continue to explore and protect this frozen continent.
Some polar specialists refer to the covers of the first two decades of the 20th century as the golden age of polar exploration. This is the era of Amundsen, Shackleton, and Scott, heroic figures in the history of Antarctic discovery.
Figure 1 shows a cover mailed using the official stationery of the 1910=13 British Antarctic Expedition led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott on board the Terra Nova. Scott and his company sailed from New Zealand on January 3, 1911 (the Antarctic summer) and set up a base camp on Cape Evans. A northern party was left to winter on Cape Adare. Scott did reach the South Pole on January 17, 1912, but on his return trip, he and his four companions died, overcome by fatigue and hunger.
The cover is embossed with the expedition seal on the flap and franked with a Id red overprinted Victoria Land stamp, postmarked "Brit. Antarctic Expd. N.Z. 10.15 PM 9 Fe 11" and mailed to J. K. Davis, the Australian Antarctic explorer for whom David Base is named.
In 1955, the cover was recancelled for the Australian Antarctic Expedition at Mawson Station. I would much rather have had the single 1911 British Antarctic Expedition cancel, but this half historic/half philatelic cover fit my budget.
Leaping some 25 years into the future, Figure 2 shows a cover mailed from Admiral Byrd's Second Antarctic Expedition aboard the S.S. Jacob Ruppert. To fund this expedition during the Great Depression, Byrd turned to corporate sponsorship. Besides Edsel Ford, IBM's president and other industrialists contributed to the project. If you look closely at a map of Antarctica, you may be able to find the Horlic Mountains and the Walgreen Coast. East Coast brewer Jacob Ruppert got both a coast and a cargo ship named after him!
Following World War II, the United States, now a world power, committed itself to a massive program of exploration and experimentation in the south Polar Regions. Named Operation Highjump, this group of ships and men produced a wide variety of Antarctic mail. Figure 3 is a Crosby cover produced for Operation Highjump, including the characteristic Crosby photo - this of the icebreaker Burton Island on the front - and the familiar magenta Operation Highjump cachet on the reverse (see Figure 4).
Antarctic covers continue to be produced by the United States and other nations. Figure 5 shows an Antarctic flown cover transported from the U.S. South Pole Station to our main base, McMurdo Station. Figure 6, a 1985 French Southern
Antarctic Territory cover represents a joint American/French effort to study catabolic winds in the Terre Adelie claimed by the French. Finally, Figure 7 shows the efforts of the Germans to document their Antarctic expeditions. Acquiring Antarctic covers re-quires either ingenuity or a checkbook. I prefer the former. Antarctic enthusiasts scour newspapers for announcements of expeditions. Then they send a letter to the mission leaders asking if they would kindly mail the enclosed covers. Antarctic cover collectors monitor themselves and would never think of sending more than two covers to be serviced. Important work goes on in the Antarctic and the scientists don't have time to handstamp and autograph pounds of mail. It's just not a commercial enterprise.
If you would like to learn more, including hints of future expeditions, consider joining the American Society of Polar Philatelists. Dues are $20 a year payable to the ASPP, J. Lewis Blackburn, 21816 8th Place West, Bothell, WA 98021-8153. Once you're a member you can definitely "chill out!"
Varieties of Modern United States Stamps
The Commemorative, Special, and Airmail Issues
By Dan Undersander, Badger Stamp Club
When we think of stamp varieties, the Washington-Franklin heads and earlier banknote issues come to mind with their many paper, printing, and perforation types. These varieties occurred because of experimentation by the printer, changes in printing methods (e.g., switch from flat plate to rotary printing), and variations tolerated by the Post Office Department (after July 1, 1971, U.S. Postal Service). These experimentations and changes did not end with the Washington-Franklins but continue through to today as Ken Lawrence well summarized for the Liberty Series in the February 1994 issue of The American Philatelist.
The purpose of this article is to summarize some of the varieties that occur on United States commemorative and airmail stamps issued since the early 1950s. I will discuss only varieties issued knowingly (or at least within specifications) by postal officials. This can be an exciting collecting area because the varieties are difficult to find but, with one or two exceptions, when located are not recognized or sold at a premium by most dealers.
Wet and dry printings
The first varieties of mention are the airmails, Scott Nos. C34, C35, C36, C39, and C39a, which were printed on both the Stickney press by the wet method and on the Huck press by the dry-printing method.
The wet-printing method involved wetting the paper to absorb ink, applying the ink and then drying the printed stamps. Such stamps have images that are more diffuse than the dry-printed stamps (Figure 1).
Dry-printed stamps are on whiter, thicker paper and have cleaner unprinted areas, glossier and smoother surfaces, and sharper, clearer impressions (Figure 2). Dry-printed stamps also have less yellow gum color.
Scott now recognizes both wet and dry printings as separate varieties.
In the early 1960s the Post Office Department began experimenting with phosphorescent tagging on stamps to help the canceler locate the stamp on the envelope. Airmail stamps were coated with material that glowed red under ultraviolet light, while commemorative and definitive issues were coated with material that glowed green. This enabled the sorter/canceler to automatically sort airmail from regular first-class mail. The first sorter/ canceler was installed at Dayton, Ohio, and limited quantities of definitive, airmail and commemorative stamps were tagged for distribution in this region.
The first stamp re-issued with phosphorescent tagging was the 8 ¢ Jet Airliner over Capitol. In addition to some regular issues, 0.5 to 1 percent of the total press run for the Christmas issues of 1963, 1964 and 1965 were tagged, while the remainder was not. Approximately 10 percent of the total printing for eight 5 ¢ commemorative issues were tagged: Marine Corps, Johnny Appleseed, Great River Road, Savings Bonds, National Park Service, Women's Clubs, Beautification, and Mary Cassett.
While tagging is most visible under ultraviolet light, most of these tagged stamps can be distinguished from their untagged counterparts because the tagging has yellowed and differences are visible to the naked eye. The key to this series is the tagged 6 ¢ Bald Eagle airmail stamp (Scott #C67a).
More recently, the 45 ¢ Samuel P. Langley airmail stamp (#C118) was first printed with block tagging and later switched to overall tagging, as has also occurred with several definitives.
During the early 1960s paper manufacturers also added varying amounts of whitener to the papers they produced for stamp production. These whiteners often glow under long wave ultraviolet light (fluorescence as opposed to phosphorescence for tagging under shortwave ultraviolet light). Stamps printed on paper without whitener appears vary dark under the ultraviolet light. Occasion-ally, the whitener effect is also visible to the eye, where stamps without the whitener appear more off-white.
While speaking of paper types, there were two printings of the 1970 Christmas issues (Scott Nos. 1414 and 1415-18). The first printing was on white paper and had gum breakers, while the second printing was on cream paper and did not have gum breakers. Similarly, two paper types were used for the 22 ¢ Caruso (Scott #2250). One is blue-white and the other is more cream or yellow. The 15 ¢ Butterflies issue (Scott #1712-15) was printed with two distinct shades of tan background and two paper types, for four possible combinations.
Press and ink varieties
An example of a stamp produced on two different presses is the 1976 Christmas issue (Scott Nos. 1702 and 1703). It was first printed with nitrocellulose-based inks on the Andreotti press and has overall tagging. The second version was printed on the A-press with water-based inks and has block tagging. The A-press version has floating plate numbers while 1702 does not. The most apparent difference is the black lettering on the stamp ½ mm. below the design on 1702, while 1703 has grey-black lettering ¾ mm. below the design.
As shown in the accompanying - table (p. 8), perforation varieties exist on many modern commemorative and airmail stamps. These varieties most often occurred when production began with one type of perforator and machinery failure caused perforation to be shifted to another machine (e.g., the in-line perforator failed and stamp production continued with perforation occurring off-line). This resulted in measurable differences in the perforations: 10.9 x 10.9 for L-perforator, 10.5 x 11.3 for Electric Eye perforator, and 11.2 x 11.2 for Andreotti In-line perforator. Perforator types are most easily determined with a perforation gauge that shows continuous gradation of perforations, such as the Gibbons Instanta Gauge.
Also, only the Eureka and in-line perforators produce bulls eye perforations (perfect intersection of vertical and horizontal rows at stamp corners). In addition to measuring perforations on individual stamps, differences are easy to detect when sheet margins are available because only the L-perforator perforates all the way through both margins. The Electric Eye perforator perforates completely through only the side margins and the in-line perforator completely through neither margin. See Figures 3-5.
A similar situation existed with the 15 ¢ John Paul Jones (Scott #1789), where the printer, J.W. Fergusson & Sons, began a 12 x 12 perforation.
When a perforator wheel broke, it was replaced with an 11-perforator wheel to produce 11 x 12, and when the second 12-perforator wheel broke, it also was replaced with an 11-perforator wheel to produce 11 x 11. The last two items (11 x 12 and 11 x 11) are listed in Scott at 28 ¢ and 30 ¢, respectively. But, though mil-lions of the perf 12 x 12 were likely produced, less than 100 are known to exist and Scott catalogues this variety at $2,000. It recently sold in auction for over $3,000. A number of copies of this variety are likely still around, waiting to be found in family correspondence and dealer lots.
The preceding is only an introduction to the types and varieties found on modern United States stamps, and is in no way complete. Searching for these and other varieties can provide many hours of enjoyment through the thrill of the hunt and satisfaction of a find - not to mention financial reward!
Perforation Types of Modern U. S. Stamp Issues*
Year Stamp Scott # Perforator Measurement
1975 10¢ Prang Christmas 1580 Andreotti In-line 11.2 x 11.2
1580 L-perforator 10.9 x 10.9
1580b Electric Eye 10.5 x 11.3
1977 13¢ Colorado Statehood 1711 L-perforator 10.9 x 10.9
1711 Andreotti In-line 11.2 x 11.2
1979 15¢ John Paul Jones 1789 L-perforator l 1::x 12 (2nd)
17894 L-perforator 11 x 11 (3rd)
1789b L-perforator 12:x 12 (lst)
1980 15¢ Winter Olympics 1795-98 Electric Eye 11.3 x 10.5
1795-98a Andreotti In-line 11.2 x 11.2
1982 20¢ Love 1951 Electric Eye 11.3 x 10.5
1951a Andreotti In-line 11.2 x l I.2
1982 20¢ Birds and Flowers 1953-2002 Electric Eye 10.5 x 11.3
1953b-2002b Andreotti In-line 11:2 x 11:2
1980 40¢ Mazzei C98 Andreotti In-line 11.2 x 11.2
C98a Electric eye 10.5 x 11.3
1983 40¢ Summer Olympics C105-8 Andreotti In-line 11.2 x 11.2
C105d-8d L-perforator 10.9 x 10.9
*A11 stamps perforated on in-line perforators and the Eureka perforator have perfect intersection of perforations at stamp corners (bullseye perforations).
July/August issue No column this issue
STAMP PRODUCTION IN WISCONSIN -
THE KCS BOOKLET ISSUES
By Brian J. Liedtke. Outagamie Philatelic Society
Brian J. Liedtke is a 17-year-old senior at Appleton West High School. He has collected United States stamps for eight years and has had much success with his exhibit of KCS booklet issues. Brian also is active in organized philately. He currently is president of the Wisconsin Chapter, Junior Philatelists of America. This fall he'll take over as president of the JPA on a national level. He writes "Brian's World," a regular column for the Outagamie Philatelic Society newsletter, holds membership in the American Philatelic Society and the Bureau Issues Association, and has twice attended the APS Summer Stamp Camp.
This issue of Across the Fence Post marks a little known anniversary that should make Wisconsin stamp collectors proud. Four years ago, the diversified graphics firm of KCS Industries, of Milwaukee, began producing United States stamps. For 100 years, the majority of United States postage stamps were printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, in Washington, D.C. Now stamp production has come to Wisconsin!
In September 1990, KCS Industries formed a corporate partnership called Stamp Venturers. KCS is a subsidiary of the Banta Corp., of Menasha, WI. Stamp Venturers booklet stamps are produced under a separate U.S. Postal Service contract with Banta Corp. The cylinder number prefix "K" is found only on Stamp Venturers/KCS booklet issues.
KCS (an acronym for the old Kirby, Cogeshall, and Steinau) is the finishing facility for all stamps supplied to the USPS by the Stamp Venturers partnership. The term "finishing" means gumming, sheeting, perforating, and shipping the panes, coils, self-adhesives or booklets that are actually printed at other Stamp Venturers facilities.
Unique KCS cut mark
The so-called "KCS booklets" have introduced specialists to a printing mark that has not been seen previously: The mark consists of a thin colored line in the middle of the pane, relatively close to the stamp design (Figure 1). To date, the mark can be found on six KCS issues. Panes containing the cut mark are from the left and right ends of each uncut strip of 10 panes. The eight panes in the middle do not display anything unusual.
Two versions of the F-Rate Flower booklet stamps were produced: one version by the BEP, the other in a comparatively small quantity by KCS. When the two stamps are placed side by side, the differences are apparent. First, compare the tulip's green leaf. On the BEP stamp (Scott #2519), the black veins are distinct. The KCS stamp (Scott #2520) is much brighter overall, and the veins are barely visible.
On a technical basis, the KCS stamps are perforated 103/4 and are printed on soft, porous paper. The BEP booklet stamps are perforated 11.2 and are printed on hard, brittle paper.
A small number of KCS booklet panes have been discovered with what is termed "smashed perfs" at the binding stub. This causes a noticeable shift of the pane in relation to the booklet cover fold. Instead of the pane being folded normally (on the third row of perforations), the fold is shifted up 1-2 millimeters and creases the stamps.
29 ¢ Flower
On April 5, 1991, the denominated Flower sheet and KCS-produced booklet stamps were issued. The new stamps used the same red F-Rate Flower tulip design; the denomination was simply changed from "F" to "29." This unprecedented action was apparently done to save time in the production process.
The first two cylinder numbers used (K1111 and K2222) provided enough stamps for 100 million booklets of 20. A new number (K3333) appeared when the stamps were reprinted. The K3333 panes received a different gum called PVA adhesive, which has a coarser texture than the Kool Jet adhesive used previously.
A minor catalog number (Scott #2527b) has been assigned to the 29 ¢ Flower pane that is vertically imperf between.
Wood Duck (red)
One week later (April 12), two versions of the Wood Duck stamp in booklet format were issued. Due to preplanning, the versions are identified by the color of the 29 ¢ denomination. The more widely available BEP product (with black lettering) is easily differentiated next to the red topography of the KCS issue.
Flag With Olympic Rings
An interesting tagging variety has been detected on the Flag With Olympic Rings stamp issued April 21, 1991. Originally, the stamps were printed on phosphor-coated paper. A small number of panes were probably overall tagged and termed the "yellow-rings" variety, because the yellow-colored phosphorescence covers the printed design.
When first made available, the Flag With Olympic Rings booklet cover included a chart of the then new domestic postage rates. In early spring of 1992, a different booklet cover served as a pass for the World Columbian Stamp Expo (Figure 2). Shortly after the giant stamp show, a third booklet cover appeared to promote a USPS 56-page book and stamp set called "Aviation Pioneers."
National Stamp Collecting Month 1992 was kicked off October 1, with the Wild Animals booklet of 20.
The five richly colored stamps show wild animals. With the exception of the flamingo, the animals depicted are only found "wild" in other countries. Because United States stamps are to primarily feature American or American-related subjects, this issue is probably the purest example yet of the USPS's hunger for the casual collectors' dollars. There is little commemorative purpose to the issue. Rather, they were intended to be colorful, attractive, and promotional.
Pledge of Allegiance (red)
A KCS version of the Pledge design (previously printed by the BEP) appeared unannounced in early March 1993. As with the red and black Wood Ducks, the KCS version features a red denomination in place of the BEP black. The KCS booklet was first sold as a booklet of 10. In May 1994, a KCS booklet of 20 was made available. The same stamps are bound into both books.
On October 8, 1993, the African Violet stamps were dedicated in conjunction with a function of the African Violet Society of America, in Beaumont, TX. The 15 million booklets of 10, intended for vending machine distribution, have a light violet booklet cover. Sixty-four million $5.80 booklets with a white cover were produced for counter sale.
1993 Traditional Christmas
The KCS Traditional Christmas booklet of 20 was issued October 21, 1993. These stamps are easily differentiated from the similar BEP sheet stamps. The booklet stamps are the smaller normal definitive size and the Christ Child's left hand and Mary's left shoulder are missing.
Jean Anne Hlavacek, a nurse from Madison, WI, lead a six-year letter-writing campaign for a commemorative stamp promoting AIDS awareness. Partly as a result of Ms. Hlavacek's efforts, the United States joined the world in postally honoring World AIDS Day, December 1, 1993. Just a side note: keep at the letter writing. It can make a difference!
Issued July 28, 1994, the Locomotives booklet of 20 marked the consolidation of contracts within Stamp Venturers. The "K" cylinder number prefix, a telltale of a Banta-KCS contract product, is replaced by the "S" prefix previously seen only on Stamp Venturers' sheet, coil, and self-adhesive stamps.
The Banta-KCS contract with the USPS has been replaced with a consolidated contract with Stamp Venturers. It is probable that future booklets contracted with Stamp Venturers will be marked with the "S" prefix making the KCS anomaly a thing of the past. •
Checklist of KCS Booklets*
Bklt. of 10
Bklt. of 10 w/smashed perfs
Bklt. of 10-w/cut mark on left
Bklt. of 10-w/cut mark on right
29 ¢ Flower
Bklt. of 20 (KI111, K2222, K3333)
Unfolded pane (KI111, K2222, K3333)
Bklt. of 20-wlcut mark on left (K1111, K2222)
Bklt. of 20-wlcut mark on right (K I111, K2222)
Unfolded pane w/cut mark on left (K1111, K2222)
Unfolded pane w/cut mark on right (K1111, K2222)
Pane - vertical imperf between (Scott #2527b)
Pair - imperf between
Wood Duck (red)
Bklt. of 20
Bklt. of 20-w/cut mark on top
Bklt. of 20-wlcut mark on bottom
Unfolded pane w/cut mark on top
Unfolded pane w/cut mark on bottom
Pair - Imperf between
Flag With Olympic Rings
Postal Rates Chart bklt. of 10
WCSE Pass bklt. of 10
Aviation Pioneers bklt. of 10
Postal Rates Chart bkit. of 10 w/cut mark on top
Postal Rates Chart bklt. of 10 wlcut mark on bottom
WCSE Pass bklt. of 10 w/cut mark on top
WCSE Pass bklt. of 10 w/cut mark on bottom
Aviation Pioneers bklt. of 10 w/cut mark on top
Aviation Pioneers bklt. of 10 w/cut mark on bottom
Unfolded pane w/cut mark on top
Unfolded pane w/cut mark on bottom
"Yellow rings" tagging variety
Pair - imperf between
Bklt. of 20
Bklt. of 20-wlcut mark on left
Bklt. of 20-w/cut mark on right
Unfolded pane wlcut mark on left
Unfolded pane w/cut mark on right
Pair - imperf between
Pledge of Allegiance (red)
Bklt. of 10
Bklt, of 20
March or April 1993 bklt. cover
Bklt. of 10 (light violet cover)
Bklt. of 20 (white cover) unfolded pane
1993 Traditional Christmas
Bklt. of 20 (K1-11111, K2-22222, KI-33333, K1-44444, K2-55555, K2-66666)
Loose pane (K1's exist, K2's have not been reported)
Bklt. of 10
Bklt. of 10 w/cut mark-on top
Bklt. of 10-w/cut mark on bottom
Unfolded pane wlcut mark on top
Unfolded pane wlcut mark on bottom
*Unless noted, only one cylinder number combination has been reported. Cut marks are top and bottom for stamp designs with a sideways orientation. Unfolded panes are available from the Philatelic Fulfillment Service Center at Kansas City.
United Nations Philately
By Robert J. Mather, Waukesha County Philatelic Society
Our readers already know this issue’s feature writer. He's been a regular contributor to ATFP for many years through his "Who's Who in the WFSC" column. He's also been very active in the WFSC and was inducted into the WFSC Hall of Fame Class of 1993. What some may not know, however, is that Bob has specialized in collecting United Nations material since 1976, thereby gaining the nickname of "Mr. U.N."
United Nations postage stamps were first issued on October 24, 1951 (Figure 1), and that day has become significant to the point that many nations have issued postage stamps honoring the occasion. The United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) issues a souvenir sheetlet in addition to stamps on every fifth anniversary of that date. With the relatively short period that the United Nations has been issuing stamps, it is quite easy to obtain a complete collection. The price for even the scarcest of these issues is not beyond the reach of most collectors.
The desire for a complete collection at a reasonable cost is what prompted this writer to start collecting U.N. stamps. Little did I realize what was in store for me because of this decision. The sheer beauty of the stamps is something that is noted by most people - collectors and non-collectors. This beauty is not only evident in the stamps, but extends to the cachets, the souvenir sheetlets and cards, the souvenir folders, and numerous other collateral materials issued by the UNPA. Be forewarned, however, that once the bug bites you to collect U.N. stamps, you will undoubtedly not be satisfied collecting only the stamps. Lovely Geneva cachets, twice-annually issued souvenir cards (see Figure 2), the World Federation of United Nations Associations cachets, and even the WFUNA lithographs will tug at you with their appeal. The WFUNA litho-graphs are limited editions of copies of artworks donated by the world's leading artists from Salvador Dali to Joan Miro and Peter Max, among others. Each has been personally autographed by the artist and is very collectible. See Figure 3.
I now find myself eagerly searching for many items that one would never think of when beginning to collect U.N. issues. As an example, the UNPA produced photos of early stamp designs, which were used in correspondence about the stamp issue and sent out in limited numbers for publicity purposes (Figure 4). They were also used by the engravers when making the printing plates (Figure 5), and my most coveted photos are those that contain notes to or by the engravers. A few photos exist of unissued designs, as well as somewhere the actual design was altered from the photo. These are exciting items to find. Another example of something that is not initially associated with U.N. collecting is the various letters from the United Nations peacekeeping forces that have been spread around the world. The many fascinating cancels and postal markings, each a bit different, are a thrill to discover.
The United Nations is the only international body that issues its own postage stamps. The authority to issue stamps, recognized and accepted by all member states, carries with it an inherent obligation to "tell the story" of the United Nations and its activities. Each U.N. postage stamp is a miniature work of art carrying its own message about some activity or goal of the United Nations.
The proposal that the United Nations should have its own postal service was first made in 1947. It was an idea of the representative of Argentina, but it wasn't until 1951 that the first U.N. stamps were is-sued. During those four years, the secretary general negotiated the necessary agreements with the governments concerned, contracted for the printing of stamps, invited specialized agencies to participate in the project, and set up an advisory committee to assist in the selection of the initial designs.
Design selection involves certain considerations that a national postal administration does not have to face. Because the United Nations is an international organization, its stamps must bear symbols that will be recognized universally. Besides the beauty of the design, the design committee must consider the political implications of any symbolism used. Naturally, none of the designs could stand for anything contrary to the standards and principles of the United Nations, nor could they represent any one culture, religion, or race. For example, it is not possible to show the dove as a symbol of peace, because to some, the dove is a symbol of death and misfortune. Designs with crosses or crescents that might be thought to represent a particular religion must also be avoided. Of 150 designs submitted for the first U.N. stamps, eight were finally chosen. (See Figure 1.)
On November 16, 1950, the General Assembly adopted a resolution establishing the UNPA as of January l, 1951. On March 28, 1951, Secretary General Trygvi Lie, of the United Nations, and Postmaster General Jesse Donaldson, of the United States, signed an agreement between the United Nations and the United States. Under the agreement, the U.S. Post Office Department (after July 1, 1971, U.S. Postal Service) would operate the U.N. Headquarters Post Office in New York City on behalf of the United Nations. The United Nations pro-vides the space, custodial services, and utilities. The United States supplies the staff and equipment. In return, the U.S. Postal Service retains the revenue derived from the sale of stamps and stationery at the U.N. Headquarters Post Office. All stamps and stationery are provided free to the U.N. Headquarters Post Office by the UNPA. The U.S. Postal Service is reimbursed for all stamps and stationery dispatched through the mail from U.N. headquarters, as well. The United Nations has issued some extremely beautiful stamps over the years. With the advanced technologies in printing techniques developed recently, U.N. stamps get n1ore impressive a11 the time. One need but look at the Environment-Clinnatc issues of 1993 (Figure 6), the Mission to Planet Earth issue of 1992, or die five-year Human Rights series of 1989 thru 1993 to appreciate this beauty.
Regardless of your view on the United Nations as an organization, once you begin to collect its stamps, your image changes and you will never view stamp collecting quite the same. U.N. stamp collecting becomes excitable, and infatuating. You will not regret the day you made the decision to collect U.N. postage stamps.
Collecting Local Postal History
By Ken Grant. Baraboo Area Stamp Club
Little did I know when I moved to Milwaukee from Chicago to go to graduate school at Marquette University that I was making one of the most important geographical decisions of my young life. Some eight years later when I moved to Baraboo to teach at the University of Wisconsin Center located there; I was equally ignorant of the implications of my new move. Now, 24 years later, I know I am a Wisconsinite, a "Cheddar head" without apology, and committed to collecting the postal history of my hometown of Baraboo, the post offices of Sauk County, and a selective range of covers from Wisconsin. In fact, I can't think of a worthier philatelic project for members of the Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs than researching and exhibiting their own corner of Wisconsin postal history.
Let me show you a few examples of covers that have made their way into my Baraboo Postal History collection.
The cover in Figure 1 is an early Baraboo cover. The first settlers arrived in the early 1840s and Baraboo's post office opened in 1847. This 1857 cover contains a letter filled with facts about Baraboo in its early development. According to Harvey Houlette, the author, Baraboo has:
"Two Churches Three Schools, and about One Doz. Stores One Flouring mill Two Saw mill Two Cabinet Shops and various other noted Buildings in both Villages [he includes West Baraboo as well] there is over 2500 inhabitants the People are very friendly."
The author may not be so skilled in his punctuation, but he is an able observer of a bustling town, recording the development of Baraboo in less than 20 years from forest and prairie to 2500 residents. I like this cover for its historical content more than its plain appearance.
Not all Baraboo covers are plain, however. Figure 2 shows one of a number of Baraboo fancy cancels. This cover, mailed in 1874, boasts a negative star cork cancel. When the hand-made canceling corks wore out, others often devised by creative postmasters replaced them.
Figure 3 shows another one of these fancy cancels. The "B" in a triangle cancel was in use in 1887. As you can see from the illustration, my copy is certainly faulty, the ragged edge of the cover detracting from its looks. There are literally dozens of different fancy cancels for Baraboo, which can be collected in various states of wear.
The tidy little cover in Figure 4 illustrates postal use. The 1 ¢ Franklin stamp pays the drop letter rate for mail posted in town to a local address.
The 1800s and early 1900s may provide a rich collecting base, but my corner of Wisconsin has some modern postal history of interest as well. Figure 5 shows a cover I sent to be canceled at one of the Argentinean Antarctic bases. It received the appropriate cancellation from Air Base Teniente Matienzo, but then something special happened. A postal clerk somewhere along the way misread Baraboo, WI, and sent this cover to Barbados, W.L, where it was received by the Barbados, West Indies Post Office, and stamped "Missent to Barbados." Here is some long-distance, local postal history!
Where do you find these covers? I find mine at local auctions, at stamp shows - especially MII.COPEX - and through postal history dealers who advertise in Linn's Stamp News. How expensive is it? That part is up to you. Nothing in my collection cost me more than $20. Most pieces cost between $2 and $5. Still, you must realize that undamaged early covers with clear cancels demand a premium.
Perhaps the best source for learning about local postal history is membership in the Wisconsin Postal History Society. Established over 50 years ago, the society offers a quarterly journal, Badger Postal History, as well a almost two dozen different informational bulletins on everything from 19th century fancy cancellations to Wisconsin railway postmarks. I think the $10 annual dues are a great bargain. If you're interested, write to: Frank Moertl, Secy.-Treas., Wisconsin Postal History Society, N95 W32259 County Line Rd., Hartland, WI 53029. •
Arranging Your Christmas Collection
By Verna Shackleton, Outagamie Philatelic Society
Verna Shackleton became interested in stamp collecting while in high school. She began her specialty collection of churches on stamps in 1975. Her exhibit "The Grand Tour-Churches in Middle Europe" has won numerous awards in national competition. It will be shown at WISCOPEX '95 in the Champion of Champions competition. Since 1983, Verna has served as secretary for the Collectors of Religion on Stamps, and many of her articles have appeared in The COROS Chronicle. She additionally has prepared many checklists of churches on stamps for that group. She writes the "Topically Yours" column for the Outagamie Philatelic Society newsletter and has been an OPS officer since 1979. We appreciate this very busy lady taking the time to share her expertise with us.
Christmas stamp collecting is the most popular of the religious topics to collect. In fact, there are so many collectors that a society was formed just for them. It is called the Christmas Philatelic Club and is a unit of the American Topical Association. A meaningful way to organize your Christmas collection would be w arrange them in three parts:
Part I - stamps portraying the birth of Christ and early childhood.
Part II - stamps pertaining to the traditional secular celebration, which has evolved out of the religious observance.
Part III - other related philatelic items, such as cancellations and postal stationery.
Part I: Birth of Christ
This section could have separate pages for:
Christ Child and Holy Family
The Annunciation to the Shepherds
Adoration of the Shepherds
Mother (Madonna) and Child
Visit of the Wise Men and the Three Kings
Flight into Egypt
Part II: Secular Celebration
This section could include stamps that portray:
Star of Bethlehem
Other Symbols (St. Nick, Santa Claus, toys, stamps that have the word "Christmas" on them, etc.)
It would be your decision if you would include Disney stamps with the Christmas theme.
Christmas Carols - A universal custom associated with the festival of Christmas is the singing of carols and folk songs. This is shown by the fact that many nations have featured carols on their stamps (Figure 1).
"Silent Night, Holy Night" is probably sung more than any other carol, and has been translated into many languages. The story of how it was composed is interesting.
The composer's name is Franz Gruber a parish organist and schoolmaster in Oberndorf, Austria. In 1818 on a cold winter evening, he was practicing Christmas music and his organ broke down. He told Father Joseph Mohr that they needed some simple music that could be sung without accompaniment, or they would have a service without music. He asked Mohr if he could write some words. It is said that the words Mohr wrote were inspired by the pastoral call he was making to a home where a new baby had been born, and a landscape sparkling with snow. .
Gruber spent the night setting the words of "Silent Night, Holy Night" to music. It was sung that Christmas Eve by his wife, accompanied by Gruber on his Italian guitar.
When the organ repairman tried the hymn, he asked for a copy to take to Zillertal, Austria. The Zillertal choir started it on its way to become one of the world's best-liked Christmas carols.
"Hark! The Harald Angels Sing," by Charles Wesley, was inspired to be written by the peals of church bells the morning of December 25, 1730 (Figure 2).
Another type of Christmas music is featured on one of the stamps issued by the United States during the 1971 season. It is a folk song of the ballad type. The one portrayed on the stamp (Scott #1445) is "Partridge in a Pear Tree," an old English yuletide ballad. The opening line is "On the First Day of Christmas my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree." It expresses the spirit of the season.
Symbols - This is one of the larger subtopics. Examples of symbols appear on the first United States Christmas stamp issued November 1, 1962. It shows two lighted candles and a Christmas wreath tied with a red ribbon - symbols with roots deep in religious tradition. (See Figure 3).
Public acceptance was immediate and overwhelming. Original printings were quickly sold out and additional stamps were printed with the result that one billion stamps were sold.
The United States design for the 1963 stamp was created by Lily Spandorf and shows the White House and the national Christmas tree as it appeared in 1962 (Figure 4). Two billion sold. President Coolidge inaugurated the custom of a national Christmas tree, with a tree that was a gift from his native state of Vermont. Each president has retained the custom since.
Part III: Related Philatelic Items
This section could include:
Postal Stationery (aerogramme)
Christmas Seals, etc.
Christmas Cancellations - Many countries, including the United States, issue holiday cancels that are mostly secular; an exception is the Austrian Christkindl cancel. The first Christkindl (Christ Child) cancel was in 1950 in the little settlement related to the Christkindl church and hostel near Steyr.
In 1950, a temporary post office for the Christmas season serviced 42,330 covers with the first special Christmas postmark for Christkindl. Fifteen years later, in 1965, the custom of a single Christmas postmark was changed to allow two postmarks annually - one postmark to be used through December 26, and a second (Epiphany) postmark to be used from December 27 through January 6. In 1974, 1,680,000 covers and cards were serviced. The "4411" in both the postmarks is the postal code for Christkindl (Figure 5). Note this piece has both cancels! Pre-Christmas, December 6, 1965, and pre-Epiphany, January 6, 1966. The date order of the foreign postmarks is the day, month, and then the year.
Starting a Christmas collection
Each year countries around the world are issuing more Christmas stamps and related items. You may begin by randomly collecting used, or mint, from all countries and sub-topics.
As you get started, you may want to store your stamps on black stock book pages until you are ready to mount them on plain white pages in the manner you choose. One-sided black stock book pages allow you to make notes about the stamps on the opposite page. If you want to collect by country, you could narrow the field to searching for the first Christmas stamp issued by each country, for which a checklist is available.
When you find you wish to narrow the field either because of expense, time, or a special interest, you'll want to start a checklist, or use a handbook from the ATA or the COROS society. If you'd like further information about checklists or handbooks, write to me at: 425 No. Linwood Ave., #110, Appleton, WI 54914. When you've decided on your specialty, the "fun of the chase" begins! •
"Putting Christmas into Your Stamp Album," American Philatelic Society booklet, 1963
"75 Years of Christmas Stamps," COROS Handbook No. 5, 1972 "Six More Years of Christmas Stamps," COROS Handbook No. 6, 1978
Assorted "Christmas Parade" columns, The COROS Chronicle
Latest update: June 12, 2005